About a year ago I purchased three very young Mexican red knee tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) spiderlings from Jamie Lessee (Jamie’s Tarantulas). I had already purchased two Mexican red knee tarantula siblings from Jamie in October, 2011 and started to think about the possibility of breeding this species in the future.
Because we knew the first set of two Mexican red knee tarantula siblings was unrelated to the second set of three Mexican red knee tarantula siblings, it seemed reasonable to make this purchase. I should have been able to get a good combination of spiders of different gender between the two sets of unrelated siblings. The combination of warm January weather and good price made clear that it was the thing to do. Because the cost of shipping is often greater than the cost of individual tarantula spiderlings, I added a red phase Chilean rose and a Honduran curly hair spiderling to the order at the last minute. I assumed there would be some mortality among the young spiderlings.
A year later all five of the spiderlings have proven to be exceptionally healthy, all have grown significantly, and four of the five are now sufficiently large that I’ve been able to determine gender.
In retrospect, I’m certainly glad I purchased the Chilean rose. It was an eager eater immediately, a rapid grower, and much more active than the relatively sedentary Mexican red knee tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) and Honduran curly hair spiderlings (Brachypelma albopilosum) throughout the spring. During the fall, the Chilean rose’s eating rate plummeted and it regularly went through fasting periods that exceeded a month. This is not atypical. Prolonged periods of fasting and inactivity become more common as this easy keeper species matures.
I was initially disappointed to determine this individual to be a male because of their much decreased lifespan, but am immensely enjoying the species-specific differences in behavior among the species I own. The red color phase Chilean rose tarantula juvenile is easily handled and his coloration intensity should continue to increase with each molt. I anticipate he will be my first male to mature and my first male to produce a sperm web.
This young male molted in transit in January, 2012 and had increased significantly in size during the four weeks between his arrival and the time that I took the picture below. He’s certainly much larger now.